I read this around 25 years ago. I remember very, very little about the story. Glimpses mostly.

What I do remember, in the beginning, a female character, maybe a scientist, meets a male character who (maybe) lived on/came from the dangerous planet. That male character is presented in the book as being very strong and big in size, a lot due to the fact that the conditions on that dangerous planet are harsh (higher gravity than on Earth, dangerous alien environment etc.) They eventually go on a journey for some mission. Inter alia, during the mission the woman's friend who comes with them, is killed by his head being ripped off.

There is a distinct aspect I remember. The strong big guy has (as well as anyone from his kind, who live on that dangerous planet) a particular way to use the gun. Specifically, the gun can pop automatically from the holster in the hand, and for a normal human eye, the movement would be instantaneous, as if the gun "magically" appeared in the hand. The people who are guy's kind developed that holster-gun system (the gun might be connected to the holster via a wire, but I am not sure at this moment that I remember correctly) to be able to shoot extremely fast on the dangerous planet.


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I think you are conflating a couple of different stories, albeit both by Harry Harrison.

The first paragraph sounds like it's describing one of the Brion Brandd stories, possibly Planet of the Damned (1962). Brion is a heavy-worlder from a planet with a very harsh and extremely variable climate. He is partnered with an Earth woman, Lea, who is very small compared to him. In the first book a friend of Brion, Ijhel is killed near the start of their mission.

The second paragraph is almost definitely describing Deathworld (1960). The hero, Jason dinAlt is a professional gambler who goes on the run and ends up having to live on the titular death-world planet Pyrrus, where everything that lives is trying to kill the Earth-descended colonists. The colonists, the Pyrrans, are equipped with power-holsters that can sling their gun into their hand in a fraction of a second with the merest tensing of their wrist.


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